Harley Flanagan

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Harley Flanagan
Birth nameHarley Francis Flanagan
Born (1967-03-08) March 8, 1967 (age 52)
San Francisco, California, United States
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
GenresHardcore punk, crossover thrash, punk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, author, MMA workshop instructor
Years active1980–present
LabelsROIR, Profile Records, Century Media, Cro-Mag Recordings
Associated actsThe Stimulators
Murphy's Law
White Devil
Harley's War

Harley Francis Flanagan (born March 8, 1967) is a musician, writer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. He is one of the founders of New York Hardcore band Cro-Mags.

At age 12, Flanagan was the drummer for the New York Punk band the Stimulators. When he was nine years old, Flanagan published a book of poetry and drawings written when he was seven years old, with a foreword written by family friend Allen Ginsberg.[1]

Autobiography and reclamation of the Cro-Mags name[edit]

Flanagan's autobiography, Hard-Core: Life of My Own, published by Feral House in 2016, contains an introduction by Steven Blush. Once published, the book spent over six months as the #1 seller in martial arts biographies on Amazon.[2][3]

On May 19, 2018, Flanagan's band was one of four classic punk/hardcore acts to play the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, along with Murphy's Law, Suicidal Tendencies, and the Original Misfits.[4] Harley also released two recordings: The Dr. Know EP, proceeds of which benefit the titular Bad Brains member, who has medical expenses; and, released on July 6, 2018, The Original Cro-Mags Demos, 1982/83, which documents Harley's work writing the songs, playing all instruments and singing early versions of the songs that are blueprint for the Cro-Mags sound.[5] That same year, Flanagan filed a federal trademark infringement action against former Cro-Mags bandmates, John Joseph and Mackie Jayson who had been touring under the Cro-Mags band name with other musicians against Flanagan's wishes.

In April 2019 Flanagan announced a settlement wherein he would own exclusive use of the name "Cro-Mags"; simultaneously, Joseph announced his recognition of the settlement, and that he and his band would instead perform as Cro-Mags "JM", beginning in August 2019.[6] Flanagan is preparing a new Cro-Mags album with producer, Arthur Rizk for a planned 2019 release date. Subsequently, on June 28, 2019 Flanagan's Cro-Mags released their first new music in twenty years, three new songs “Don’t Give In,” “Drag You Under” and “No One’s Victim.”[7] Flanagan is preparing a new Cro-Mags album with producer, Arthur Rizk for a planned 2019 release date. Cro-Mags are reportedly working on a new album — their first since 2000’s Revenge — and were named as an opening act for the Original Misfits for four shows in 2019.


Flanagan cited Darryl Jenifer, Geezer Butler, and Lemmy as his biggest bass influences. He also stated that Cronos of Venom, Jaco Pastorious (Flanagan owns one of his basses), and Stanley Clarke inspired him, trying to "bring all that stuff together" in his own music, mixed with hardcore's intensity.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Flanagan is the father of two sons and is married to Laura Lee Flanagan, who is an attorney and serves as Flanagan's business manager and also works as general counsel and CCO to investment advisory firms.[9]

Flanagan is a black-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and currently works as a professor for Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City. His students include the daughter of Anthony Bourdain, who coincidentally attended NYC Stimulators concerts in the early 1980s, and was a fan of the then preteen drummer.[9]

Flanagan has been a vegetarian since 1982.[10]


with The Stimulators[edit]

  • Loud, Fast Rules!/Run Run Run {studio single} (1980)
  • Loud, Fast Rules! {live concert recording} (1982)
  • New York Thrash {various artists compilation} (1982)

with Cro-Mags[edit]

with White Devil[edit]

  • Reincarnation (1995)

with Harley's War[edit]

  • Cro-Mag (2003)
  • Hardcore All-Stars (2009)
  • 2012 (2012)

Harley Flanagan solo work[edit]

  • Cro-Mags (2016)
  • Hard Core Dr. Know EP (2018)
  • Cro Mags Demos (2018; recorded 1982-1983)

Legal issues[edit]

On July 6, 2012, Flanagan was arrested for allegedly stabbing two current members of Cro-Mags, and biting one of them, backstage at the Webster Hall in New York City. Allegedly Flanagan had been attacked in the dressing room.[11][12] Flanagan was stabbed in the leg.[13][14][15] Flanagan stated he drew the knife to defend himself and that the wound to his leg required 30 stitches.[16] Charges were dropped in December 2012, due to a lack of cooperating witnesses. Flanagan was later sued in a civil action over the incident, but this suit was also dropped.

In 2018 Flanagan filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in the Southern District of New York, charging former band members John McGowan and Maxwell Jayson with trademark infringement. Flanagan won the lawsuit in April 2019, and now exclusively owns the rights to the band name Cro-Mags.[17]


  1. ^ "New York City Hardcore Poetry « Vol. 1 Brooklyn". Vol1brooklyn.com. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  2. ^ http://feralhouse.com/hard-core/
  3. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Core-Life-Own-Harley-Flanagan/dp/1627310339
  4. ^ http://www.brooklynvegan.com/harley-flanagan-added-to-misfits-nj-show-and-has-other-tour-dates/
  5. ^ http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/harley-flanagan-to-release-cro-mag-demos-and-hard-core-dr-know-ep/
  6. ^ Punknews.org. "Harley Flanagan and John Joseph settle Cro-Mags lawsuit". www.punknews.org. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  7. ^ Rollingstone.com. "Hear Hardcore Heroes Cro-Mags Return With First New Songs in 20 Years". www.rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  8. ^ Stone, Drew (July 13, 2015). "The New York Hardcore Chronicles 10 Questions w/ Harley Flanagan (The Stimulators / Cro-Mags)" (video). YouTube. Event occurs at 2:58. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Curkin, Charles (August 31, 2016). "Harley Flanagan, Original New York Punker, Finds His Mellower Side". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Hutch (April 19, 2016). "Harley Flanagan Reflects The Grit of His New York Story With New Album 'Cro-Mags'". newnoisemagazine.com. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "Harley Flanagan's Revenge Stabbing". nymn.com. July 27, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  12. ^ Moynihan, Colin (July 7, 2012). "A Stabbing, and a Feud About a Band". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  13. ^ Lemoine, Ray (July 12, 2012). "Former Cro-Mags Bassist Accused of Stabbing at New York Show". The Local East Village. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  14. ^ Celona, Larry (July 7, 2012). "Cro-Mags founder accused of stabbing, biting band members at Webster Hall". New York Post. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  15. ^ Tartar, Andre (7 July 2012). "A Knife-Wielding Former Band Member Canceled the Cro-Mags' Webster Hall Show". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  16. ^ "Former Cro-Mags Bassist Defends Himself Over Webster Hall Fight". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  17. ^ "Cro-Mags Lawsuit: Harley Flanagan Wins Band Name". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-04-24.

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